San Francisco, CA: The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Monday to invalidate an October 2001 DEA “Interpretive Rule” criminalizing the possession and manufacture of any edible hemp seed or oil products that contain trace amounts of THC. The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and seven hemp food companies had filed a pair of lawsuits urging the court to strike down the DEA regulations because the minute amounts of THC in hemp products are non-psychoactive and insignificant.
The federal appeals court did not rule on the merits of the hemp foods ban, but rather determined it to be “procedurally invalid” because the DEA failed to give sufficient advance warning or allow for public comment before imposing the rule. The court has yet to rule on the legality of the DEA’s “Final Rule,” which also calls for a ban on hemp foods.
Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra called the ruling “great news” because hemp foods will now remain legal until the court decides on the hemp industry’s challenge to the DEA’s “Final Rule.” This court ruling “not only ensures hemp foods will continue to be legally available to consumers, … but also strikes a major blow to the ultimate validity of the DEA’s ‘Final Rule,'” he said.